Rentals Curriculum  




River as Spirit – Rebirth of the Elwha

This film is a meditation on the soul of the Elwha River and the people and salmon who have been a part of it for thousands of years. This past summer, just a week before the historic dam removal work officially began, environmental filmmaker/biologist Shelly Solomon and cinematographer John Trapman flew and filmed the length of the river, from its source high in the Olympic Mountains to the mouth at the Strait of Juan De Fuca. John Trapman is an aerial cinematographer with an extensive Hollywood resume, specializing in the latest helicopter mounted stabilized camera (600,000k) equipment. The weather was perfect, and on viewing the stunning footage it was decided to assemble it, set it to some tribal native language, music and poetry. This simple and profoundly beautiful film has proven mesmerizing to both Tribal and non-tribal audiences alike.

Click here for a news article about the premier for River as Spirit.


This film shares the inspiration and persistence that have kept the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe strong despite nearly a century of living with the degrading effects of dams. It's hard to imagine a better experience than hearing speakers of the Klallam language, seeing the river from its headwaters to its mouth, and receiving wisdom of Tribal leaders and poets.
Robbie Mantooth, volunteer for Clallam County watersheds and North Olympic Land Trust

Seeing the entire length of the Elwha River from the air was an interesting, thought provoking film experience, especially in the context of the dams that have kept wild salmon from accessing this spectacular system. Little narration was provided, which seemed appropriate, adding weight to the sobering appreciation of so much salmon habitat forsaken for nearly a century. But what was said, by Klallam elders in their native language, was particularly moving.
William C. Patric
Executive Director
Rivers Without Borders

Running Time: 32 Minutes - Standard DVD $19 - Blu-ray $20

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John Trapman and Shelly Solomon ready to film the Elwha in Cineflex.

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